The WORD in Other Words by Fr Renato Tampol SVD (Philippines)
Wednesday Week 11 OT, 2 Cor 9:6-11, Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
Today‘s gospel talks about the three pillars of the Christian faith, namely: almsgiving, prayer, and fasting. Prayer deepens our relationship with God, almsgiving with others, and fasting with oneself.
Jesus is telling us that when we pray we should pray to the Father in secret. But Jesus also joined the community in prayer in the synagogues and the temple. Everybody is enjoined not only to pray alone but also with the community especially on Sundays where the Mass, the highest form of worship in the Church is celebrated.
As to almsgiving, Jesus is telling us to share what we have to others. The saintly Mother Teresa would say, “Give until it hurts.” — She gave her all when she served the poorest of the poor of Calcutta. She faithfully followed the example of Jesus who gave His whole life that we may live (Jn 3:16).
Christians are asked to fast during Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Unlike our Muslim brothers and sisters, fasting for Christians is not total abstention from food but lessening intake. And the money saved in doing so should be given to the poor. But if you go to fastfood chains during the aforementioned days, you will see a lot of people queuing at the counter. Only few practice the Christian tradition of fasting. To fast is to discipline oneself so that one may be able to pray well. It is always connected to prayer. When one does not pray while fasting, he/she is not really fasting but just trying to lose weight — on a diet.
These pillars of our faith should be lived by all Christians. They are an integral part of our being rooted in a relationship with self, others and God.